Report: Clippers owner Donald Sterling signed moral and ethical contracts with the NBA over the years

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Clippers owner Donald Sterling is reportedly on the hunt for a law firm that will take on the task of suing the NBA, in hopes of preventing the league from forcing Sterling to sell the team following his lifetime ban that was issued by commissioner Adam Silver.

Silver acted about as swiftly and strongly as possible in taking action, and given the fact that the Sterling situation was becoming a national news story threatening to be all-encompassing for the league just as the postseason was underway, he didn’t seem to have much of a choice.

But Silver is extremely intelligent about both matters of business and the law, and wouldn’t have dropped the hammer this hard unless he felt confident that there was plenty of legal ground to stand on. And it appears that in addition to the league’s constitution, he may have some additional, very important documents on his side.

From Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today:

The NBA not only is relying on its constitution and by-laws to force Los Angeles Clipper owner Donald Sterling to sell the team, but also plans to rely on moral and ethical contracts with the league Sterling has signed over the years, a person familiar with the situation told USA TODAY Sports. …

Language in those contracts prevent Sterling from expressing views or taking actions counter that are detrimental to the league, the person said.

Depending just how strongly worded and specific those contracts are, they could have provided Silver with added security before he made his ruling, and they could also be huge assets for the league if indeed Sterling decides to fight.

In related news, the league’s Advisory/Finance Committee met via conference call on Wednesday to discuss the next steps in the process.

“The Advisory/Finance Committee met again today via conference call,” said Mike Bass, the NBA’s Executive Vice President of Communications, via official release. “The Committee reviewed the status of the search for a new CEO of the Los Angeles Clippers, was updated on meetings held this week between NBA Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum and Clippers employees, and addressed the process and timing regarding the termination of Mr. Sterling’s ownership of the team.  The Committee will reconvene next week.”

Warriors pose for photos with Jahlil Okafor’s dad’s ‘FREE JAH’ shirt

AP Photo/Chris Szagola
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Jahlil Okafor‘s father has not been shy about speaking out on his son’s behalf. NBA players are advocating for the 76ers to grant Okafor, who’s out of the rotation and on an expiring contract, his desired trade or buyout.

When both join forces…

Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Stephen Curry appear to really enjoy Chukwudi Okafor’s shirt. That doesn’t mean they’re necessarily calling on Philadelphia to do anything. But they hadn’t to know how it’d be perceived.

It’s easy to predict free agents will avoid the 76ers as a result of the Okafor situation, but few anticipate getting stuck similarly. Players overwhelmingly value money, winning, role and location. If Golden State’s stars are applying any external pressure, it shouldn’t really move Philadelphia more than anything that has already been said and done.

A couple of Lonzo Ball’s triple-double assists look dubious (video)

Harry How/Getty Images
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Lonzo Ball draws outsized attention because his father, LaVar Ball, lures onlookers and because the rookie plays for the high-profile Los Angeles Lakers.

So, when Lonzo gets a triple-double – like his 11-points, 16-rebound, 11-assists game against the Nuggets yesterday – it draws scrutiny.

Mo Dakhil of The Jump Ball:

The NBA defines an assist as a “pass that directly leads to a basket. … An assist can be awarded for a basket scored after the ball has been dribbled if the player’s pass led to the field goal being made.”

I wouldn’t describe either of those passing as leading directly to a basket. Ball’s teammates each hold the ball for a moment after receiving the pass then take two dribbles against set defenses.

But assists are subjective, and the Lakers aren’t alone in offering a home-court scorekeeping advantage.

Kyle Neubeck of Philly Voice

So, criticize/laugh at the Lakers. But your favorite team probably manipulates assists in its favor, too.

Robin Lopez and T.J. Warren exchange contact, heated words (video)

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Robin Lopez whacked T.J. Warren in the head while chasing an offensive rebound. Warren didn’t like that, so he ran to the opposite end of the court and shoved Lopez to the floor. A heated confrontation ensued, though it didn’t escalate beyond yelling.

Warren received a flagrant foul, and Lopez was hit with a technical in the Suns’ 113-105 win over the Bulls.

Lakers blow 5-on-1 fastbreak (video)

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Corey Brewer is better at finishing fastbreaks than leading them.

Nice defense by Emmanuel Mudiay, too.

But at least the Lakers won.